Voyage for Life Versus Military Accumulation

by Gilberto López y Rivas

The Zapatista delegation left Isla Mujeres this afternoon, bound for the port of Vigo, Pontevedra, in the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain, on May 2, 2021.
Photo: La Jornada /Victor Camacho

While the maritime Squadron 421 of the EZLN prepares to launch on the 3rd of May on the ship La Montaña for the port of Vigo, Spain, to meet with the Europe of those from below, in the municipality of Chilón, in the north of Chiapas, the government of the Fourth Transformation attempts to impose one of the many barracks under construction in the country, despite the rejection in this case, of the the Tzeltal communities, of its own community government, of the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory and of inhabitants of San Sebastian Bachajón, according to the well-founded denunciation of colleague Aldo Santiago (

Mayan Tseltal people of the municipality of Chilón takes on a legal battle against the militarization of their territory. Photo: Chiapas Paralelo

For its part, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center evidenced the consolidation of the activities of the Army in public life, citing the recent report of Amnesty International, in which it reports that the government of AMLO deployed more active military personnel in its public security strategy than the two previous presidential administrations. In that report, it makes mention of the decree issued, in the midst of the pandemic, which allowed the permanent deployment of the armed forces of public security until March of 2024, clearly warning: The decree lacked the substantive regulations to guarantee that the behavior of the armed forces was in compliance with international norms. The President also announced that the control of the ports and customs checkpoints would pass to the armed forces (Ibíd., p. 305).

Amnesty International points out the continuation of the threats and harassment against people that defend human rights in México, placing the number of defenders murdered during the current government at 24. Likewise, this organization shares: “Defenders of the rights of environment and of the indigenous peoples demonstrated their concern about the megaproject known as the Mayan Train. The President reacted accusing them publicly of being ‘fake environmentalists.’ Six special rapporteurs of the United Nations sent a letter to the government expressing a series of reasons for their concern about the Mayan Train project, some of them related to the rights of indigenous peoples to the land and to health, and also with the possible environmental consequences of the project ( Ibíd., p. 307).

For its part, the representative of the Office High Commission for Human Rights of the United Nations, Guillermo Fernández-Maldonado, declared that in light of the decision of AMLO’s government to confer control of the infrastructure megaprojects and other administrative areas (like the construction of airports, railways, and additionally  bank branch offices, nurseries, etcetera) to the armed forces, the government should apply criteria for transparency in the utilization of resources, a taboo issue as it concerns the armed forces, as I confirmed as a federal deputy, in the failed efforts to make their budget exercise transparent.

In Morelos, the thermoelectric plant in Huexca, that the President, as a campaigning president, compared to a toxic dump in Jerusalem, continues its destructive course for its start-up, pillaging the waters of the campesina communities, poisoning the air with harmful substances that escape its chimneys, killing the fish of nearby water currents with its toxic residues and making life impossible for those who live in the community, for the infernal noise when it begins operations; A sit-in for months, in front of the main entrance to the plant, the rejection of the residents to the violence against the people was evident, while the crime of Samir Flores Soberanes remains unpunished and the company remains among those in first place for serious crimes, significantly occupying second place in femicides.

In the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the militarized accumulation continues, with the concentration of the largest number of active military personnel in all the country and also the construction of barracks of the National Guard in Juchitán and Zanatepec, Oaxaca, not without the resistance of the pueblos, most active in the Oaxacan portion, with organizations like the Assembly of the Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory, while in Veracruz it is found in the so-called Process of Articulation of the Sierra Santa Martha, member of the National Indigenous Congress. Less than a month ago, AMLO announced that the Mexican Navy would be in charge of protecting the Interoceanic Corridor.

The delegation of the EZLN, CNI-CIG and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of Water and Land of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala in its voyage to Europe goes representing the Mexico of emancipation and of rebellion, of below and to the left.

This article was published in La Jornada on April 30th, 2021. This English interpretation has been published by Schools for Chiapas.

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